Thora Jacobson: Telling a Story

Barbara Klein

Art in Town

Art On Campus

To the North

Art in the Workplace

Art by the River

Other Galleries

Other Museums

Corrections or additions?

This article by Patricia Summers was published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on


15, 1998. All rights reserved.

Rising to the Fleisher Challenge

Twenty years, 100 years, "20 x 12," 185 artists

. . . It sounds at first like so much mathematics, but it proves to

be the story of a warm and welcoming, 100-year-old Philadelphia art

institution. With two extensive exhibitions opening this month, the

Fleisher Art Memorial celebrates both its centennial and two decades

of "Challenge" exhibits that have showcased up-and-coming

area artists working in every art medium.

Not wholly either museum or monument, the Samuel S. Fleisher Art


at 719 Catharine Street, between 7th and 8th streets in South


is best known as one of the country’s oldest and largest tuition-free

visual arts organizations for adults and children. Itself a kind of

artwork that in turn houses myriad other works of art, the Fleisher

Memorial consists of six adjoining buildings: a former vocational

school, a former church and belltower, and three row houses.

Besides its educational programming, the Fleisher’s Challenge


series — intended to challenge both artists and the public to

encounter contemporary artistic expression in its many forms —

annually attracts more than 300 applications from artists within a

50-mile radius of Philadelphia. Each year, 12 artists are selected

for a series of three-person shows; every 10 years, all these earlier

participants are invited to show their new work.

Founded by Samuel S. Fleisher in 1898 as the Graphic Sketch Club,

and initially intended to instill art and humanitarian principles

in the children of recent immigrants to the neighborhood, the Fleisher

Art Memorial — which was renamed at its founder’s death in 1945

— now serves about 3,000 students each year, with offerings


from academic sculpture to mask-making, and from tapestry weaving

to calligraphy to jewelry. Fleisher left his estate in trust,


the Philadelphia Museum of Art as administrator. Now, although the

museum has ultimate oversight, it has delegated responsibility for

governance to the Fleisher board of directors. Funding for the


and exhibition programs is also the Fleisher’s purview.

Two related exhibitions mark this year’s Fleisher milestones. Both

open on the evening of Friday, July 17, with shuttle buses carrying

guests between the sites. "20 x 12: A Generation of Challenge

Artists," at the Fleisher, allows a full generation of area


all Challenge exhibitors during the last 20 years, to show new work.

Opening with a 7 to 10 p.m. reception, "20 x 12" includes

the work of more than 160 artists from the challenge program,


five from central New Jersey: Barbara Klein, Mel Leipzig, Richard

Sanders, Krista Van Ness, and Martha Vaughn. It remains on view


August 28.

Concurrently the Philadelphia Museum of Art presents

"20 Philadelphia Artists: Celebrating Fleisher Challenge at


a retrospective that traces the careers of 20 artists after their

Challenge exhibitions. The PMA exhibition opens with a 6 to 8 p.m.

reception and runs through September 13. Diversity is a hallmark of

the PMA group, reflecting the wide range of contemporary approaches

in evidence at the Fleisher during the Challenge series. They include,

for example, figurative painters working with Renaissance techniques,

a stained-glass artist who, atypically for the medium, presents


and disturbing imagery, sculptors making multimedia installation


and printmakers who incorporate such unconventional materials as


pharmaceuticals into their work.

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Thora Jacobson: Telling a Story

"The show at the Philadelphia Museum was selected to tell a


explains Thora Jacobson, the Fleisher’s executive director for almost

20 years and originator of the Challenge series. "It’s an


look as well as a close look at individual artists."

The five central Jersey artists who will exhibit at the Fleisher


realist painter Mel Leipzig, of Trenton, and sculptor Richard Sanders,

of Princeton. Both were also included in the Fleisher’s first


anniversary show, in 1988, because their exhibits had occurred during

the series’ first decade.

Leipzig will show "Francesca at the Door," one of his portrait

works involving multiple reflections that was included in his recent

retrospective at the New Jersey State Museum. He first exhibited at

the Fleisher in 1982. He remembers hearing that realist painters


usually chosen, and views involvement with the Fleisher as "a

terrific thing — very good for artists in the area."

Until his family’s move to Princeton about seven years ago, Sanders

lived near the Fleisher and remembers it as a vital part of the


He likens it to the Arts Council of Princeton, which also offers a

wide spectrum of classes (although not tuition-free) and includes

gallery space. Sanders’ non-representational sculptures are made of

wood and bristle horse hair. He’ll show two pieces at the Fleisher,

"Broken Dreams" and the whimsical "Ethnic Cleanser."

He describes this Fleisher exhibition as "a very good show to

be represented in, with high-quality work," and joins the other

artists in positively citing the tie-in with the Philadelphia Museum

of Art.

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Barbara Klein

Barbara Klein will exhibit a work in oil on paper, "Four

Hearts," comprised of nine individual pieces in a grid. She says

the work is uncharacteristic for her because it includes "visible

areas of color." Klein, who lives in Lawrenceville, also recently

exhibited at the New Jersey State Museum in the solo show,


Ciphers." Her work is currently included in the New Jersey State

Council on the Arts Fellowship Exhibition at the Jersey City Museum.

Klein describes the Fleisher as "quirky and lovable,"


its "very beautiful spare white exhibition space" from her

Challenge show there a few years ago. She had applied every year,

she says, and was honored to be chosen. The Fleisher’s long commitment

to community outreach and its diverse shows engendered her


respect" for the place.

The most recent participant in a Challenge exhibit, Krista Van Ness

of Pennington, will show two assemblages in glass boxes, both of which

were included in her solo exhibition at the Peddie School earlier

this year. "The Debate," which includes two mounted rabbit

heads and piles of pearls, is her vision of a fairy tale she heard

as a child. "Bird Mummies" shows six preserved, wrapped


— "not official mummy wrapping," she cautions. In their

varied death postures, she says, the birds expressed more


than they had while alive.

Van Ness regards the Challenge shows as "really quite


and the Fleisher as "a quality environment" with an


level of art. Its link to the Philadelphia Museum of Art only adds

to the luster. Photographer Martha Vaughn of Princeton is the fifth

area artist whose work — two Polaroid transparency prints —

will be included in "20 x 12."

To preview the upcoming Fleisher exhibitions on the Internet, go to This new means of access, also marking the

20th anniversary of the Challenge series, makes available both


and images for all but five of the 185 artists whose work will be

exhibited at one of the two sites. Constituting a regional arts


this material will be kept updated and supplemented while providing

viewers to select specific print-outs for purchase.

Besides the "free and open to the public" receptions on July

17, further programming related to the two Fleisher exhibitions


gallery discussions, Challenge studio tours, a collectors’ forum,

and a week-long summer studio class for children.

— Pat Summers

20 x 12: A Generation of Challenge Artists, Samuel S.

Fleisher Art Memorial, 719 Catharine Street, Philadelphia,


Website: Opening reception is Friday, July

17, for the show that continues to August 28. Gallery hours are Monday

to Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to noon; and 1 to 3

p.m. Free.

Twenty Philadelphia Artists: Celebrating Fleisher Callenge

at Twenty , Philadelphia Museum of Art, Benjamin Franklin Parkway

at 26th Street, Philadelphia, 215-763-8100. Website:

Opening reception is Friday, July 17, for the show that continues

to September 13. Museum hours are Tuesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5

p.m.; Wednesdays until 8:45 p.m. Closed Mondays and major holidays.

Museum admission is $8 adults; $5 for children, students, and seniors.

Free Sunday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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Art in Town

DeLann Gallery, Princeton Meadows Shopping Center,


609-799-6706. "Six New Jersey Artists," with Malcolm Bray,

Dan Fernandez, Milt Liebson, Fran McIlvain, Doug McIlvain, and


van Dommelen. To September 18. Gallery hours are Tuesday to Thursday,

11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to

6 p.m.

The Firebird Gallery, 15 Witherspoon, 609-688-0775. The

children’s folklore and fantasy gallery features works by Russian-born

illustrator Gennady Spirin. Gallery hours are Tuesday to Sunday, 11

a.m. to 6 p.m.

Gratella Gallery at the Forrestal, 100 College Road East,

609-452-7800. First day for Bill Taylor’s exhibit, "In Focus:

India-Nepal," a photo exhibition by Bill Taylor, well known for

his architectural photography, and president of Taylor Photo. The

show features scenic and portrait photographs taken on a recent trip

to India and Nepal. To August 29. The gallery on the lower level is

open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Historical Society of Princeton, Bainbridge House, 158

Nassau, 609-921-6748. "Practical Photographers: The Rose Family

Studio," images from the awesome collection of 10,000 glass plate

negatives, dating from shortly after the Civil War to the early 1950s.

The Rose Studio was founded in Princeton in 1873 by Royal Hill Rose

whose commercial photography studio stood on Nassau Street through

three generations of family owners, until its closing in 1951. To

December 30. Free. Museum hours are Tuesday to Sunday, noon to 4 p.m.

Medical Center at Princeton, Merwick Unit, Bayard Lane,

609-497-4192. Show of work by the Senior Center watercolor class,

directed by Carol Scott, that has been meeting weekly since 1992.

To September 10. Open daily, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Skidmore Art Consultants Gallery, One Airport Place, Route

206, 609-924-1875. Recent paintings by Anne Boysen, abstract flower

studies in a profusion of different hues. A former Philadelphian,

Boysen now lives in an old farmhouse in Bucks County where she finds

the countryside a constant source of inspiration. To July 23. Gallery

hours are Thursday and Friday, 1 to 5 p.m., and by appointment.

The Williams Gallery, 8 Chambers Street, 609-921-1142.

"Twentieth-Century Paintings & Prints," a group show featuring

Japanese printmakers Rieko Fujinami and Kenichi Tanaka. To August

15. Gallery hours are Wednesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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Art On Campus

Art Museum, Princeton University, 609-258-3788. "The

West: Recent Acquisitions of American Photography," featuring

20 photographs by 15 artists. Featured photographers include Barbara

Bosworth, Peter de Lory, Wanda Hammerback, Mark Klett, and Richard

Misrach. To September 6. Open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m.

to 5 p.m.; Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. Tours every Saturday at 2 p.m.


Firestone Library, Princeton University, 609-258-3184.

"Sing Whatever is Well Made," an exhibition of Irish poetry,

celebrating the library’s acquisition of the Leonard Milberg ’53


of Irish Poetry, comprising more than 1,000 printed works by 50 poets.

To September 20.

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To the North

Johnson & Johnson World Headquarters Gallery, New


732-524-3698. In the New Jersey Artists Series, Greg Kwiatek, oil

on linen abstract paintings by the Hoboken painter known for his


who now works with biomorphic abstractions. To August 3.

Also "America’s Favorite Pastime," a baseball show featuring

fine art and documentary photographs by Jim Dow and Mauro Altamura.

To August 14. Both shows free by appointment.

Mason Gross School of the Arts, Civic Square Building,

33 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, 732-932-7511. "Mexico


featuring five large paintings by Noe Hernandez, and "Puerto Rican

Graphic Arts, 1950-85," an exhibit of 65 prints and posters by

significant artists from Puerto Rico and New York City. To August

14. Gallery hours are Monday & Wednesday, noon to 4:30 p.m.; Tuesday

& Thursday, noon to 7:30 p.m.

Museum of the American Hungarian Foundation, 300 Somerset

Street, New Brunswick, 732-846-5777. Victor Vasarely Retrospective,

an exhibition by the father of Op Art — "the pop of op"

— and pioneer of the development of every kind of optical device

for the creation of the new art of visual illusion. $2 donation. To

September 27. Museum hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.;

Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m.

Quietude Garden Gallery, 24 Fern Road, East Brunswick,

732-257-4340. An outdoor contemporary sculpture gallery. Hours are

Friday to Sunday, noon to 5 p.m., and by appointment. Discounts are

offered during Fern Road reconstruction through early August. Call

for alternative directions.

Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, George and Hamilton

streets, New Brunswick, 732-932-7237. "Paul Robeson: Artist and

Citizen," a major show in observance of the centennial of the

birth of the Princeton-born scholar, athlete, singer, movie star,

and political activist. The multi-disciplinary show features 150 items

on loan from collections around the world. By placing Robeson’s life

within the context of American history during the first half of this

century, the exhibit interprets major themes of social, cultural,

and intellectual history. To July 31.

Museum hours are Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Saturday

and Sunday, Noon to 5 p.m. Closed Mondays and major holidays.


$3 adults; free for members, children under 18, and Rutgers students,

faculty, and staff. Free on the first Sunday of each month.

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Art in the Workplace

The Gallery at Bristol-Myers Squibb, Route 206 and


Line Road, 609-252-6275. "Transcending the Surface: Layers,


and Textures" featuring the work of Susan Hockaday, photography,

Margaret Kennard Johnson, prints, Trudy Kraft, painting, and Joy


fabric construction. To September 7. Gallery hours are Monday to


9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday to 7 p.m.; weekends & holidays, 1 to 5

p.m. @HEAD 14 = Art In Trenton

Capital Health System at Mercer, 446 Bellevue Avenue,

Trenton, 609-394-4095. Three artist exhibition featuring Sal Panasci,

Helen Post, and Patricia Rosenblad. To August 21.

Ellarslie, Trenton City Museum, Cadwalader Park,


TAWA Invitational, the first of three members’ shows featuring


Doernbach, Eric Fowler, Julian Kernes, Charles McCollough, and Marge

Miccio. Jurors are Mel Leipzig, Molly Merlino, and Bernard Moore.

To August 9. Museum hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.;

Sunday, 2 to 4 p.m.

Extension Gallery, 60 Ward Avenue, Mercerville,


"Twists and Turns," a father and son exhibition of sculpture,

drawings, and paintings by Mike and Michael Gyampo Jr. To August 6.

Gallery hours are Monday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The show was initiated by 10-year-old Michael Jr., a fourth grader

at Princeton Charter School, and one of Mike and Portia Gyampo’s four

sons. In 1997, Michael Jr. won a scholarship from Johnson park School

for a 10-week study program at Moore College of Art. He produced his

first bronze sculpture in the second grade and has produced eight

more in past three years.

New Jersey State Museum, 205 West State Street, Trenton,

609-292-6464. "Building the Collections: Recent Acquisitions in

the Fine and Decorative Arts," works from the Zoltan Buki Fine

Arts Collection by Tova Beck-Friedman, Victor Davson, Marion Held,

Hughie Lee-Smith, James Seawright, Mel Leipzig and others, to



On extended view: "Dinosaur Turnpike: Treks through New Jersey’s

Piedmont"; "Amber: The Legendary Resin"; "The Moon:

Fact & Fiction". Museum hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 9 a.m.

to 4:45 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. Free.

St. Francis Medical Center, 601 Hamilton Avenue, Trenton,

609-599-5659. "Envisioning Realities & Fantasies in Mediums of

Adolescent Youth," an exhibition of pencil drawings by Kyle


a student at Reynolds Middle School in Hamilton. To August 11.

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Art by the River

ABC Gallery, Lambertville Public Library, 6 Lilly Street,

609-397-0275. "Ink Abstractions" by John Mishler, a professor

of biology, genetics, and embryology during the academic year and

studio painter during the summer. To August 8. Gallery hours are


to Thursday, 1 to 9 p.m.; Friday 1 to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to

5 p.m.; closed Sunday.

Bell’s Union Street Restaurant, 183 North Union,


609-397-2226. Photographs of San Francisco and Paris by Joyce Gulick

and vintage photographs of Lambertville in the 1960s by her father,

the late Frank Gulick. To August 22.

Howard Mann Art Center, 45 North Main Street,


609-397-2300. Lambertville art dealer Howard Mann liquidates his art

collection after 34 years in the business. Works by Gorman, Erte,

Boulanger, Dali, Tarkay, Vasarely, Ebgi, Alexandra Nechita, and others

are all on the block. Sale continues until the art is gone. Gallery

hours are Wednesday to Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.

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Other Galleries

World Artists for Tibet, Montgomery Cultural Center,

1860 House, 124 Montgomery Road, 609-921-3272. A two-month exhibit

exploring themes of human rights, oppression, and freedom, to benefit

the Tibet Fund and the Siddhartha School Project in India.

The show is part of an international summertime awareness campaign

with 3,000 artists in 45 countries joining with support of Richard

Gere, Elie Wiesel, Harry Wu, and Diane Feinstein. The group of 25

participating artists, who donate a portion of their sales to the

Tibet charities, include sacred sand mandala painter Tenzin Dhodak;

painters Sabrina Gaydos, Jacob Landau, Chuma Okoli, Maria Owens, and

Seow-Chu See; and sculptors Gyuri Hollosy, Peter Chinni, and Colleen


The Eurogallery, 37 West Broad Street, Hopewell,


Oil paintings by Etzir Desir, an artist born in Haiti, whose work

evokes the colorful spirit of the islands. Also Zsolnay porcelain.

Open Wednesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sundays noon to 3 p.m.

Printmaking Council of New Jersey, 440 River Road,


908-725-2110. Work by teachers and students in classes, workshops,

and the Roving Press programs. To August 15. Gallery hours are


to Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Saturday, 1 to 4 p.m.

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Other Museums

James A. Michener Art Museum, 138 South Pine Street,


215-340-9800. "The Passionate Eye: Paintings by European and


Masters from Bucks County Collections," with works by Balthus,

Bonnard, Cassatt, Cezanne, Gaugin, Hopper, Picasso, and Monet; to

August 23. Also, "Contemporary Woodworkers," a Bucks County

invitational show of works by Jeffrey Greene, Mira Nakashima-Yarnall,

Phillip Lloyd Powell, Mark Sfirri, and Robert Charles Whitley II,

to September 13.

Also featured, "Creative Bucks County: A Celebration of Art and

Artists," an interactive exhibit honoring 12 maverick Bucks County

figures that include Oscar Hammerstein, Pearl Buck, and Dorothy


Hours are Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturday and


10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Mondays. Adults $5; students $1.50; children


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